‘Pass Lokpal bill before Food Security Bill’

Team Anna on Monday night demanded that Lokpal Bill be passed by Parliament before the legislation on Food Security.

Last Updated: Dec 20, 2011, 00:34 AM IST

New Delhi: Team Anna on Monday night demanded that
Lokpal Bill be passed by Parliament before the legislation on
Food Security to ensure that the money spent on ensuring food
for all reaches the deserved without any diversion of funds.

"Lokpal Bill should be passed before Food Security Bill.
Then only the money meant for ensuring food security reaches
the deserved or else this money will go into the pockets of
parties, ministers and officers," activist Arvind Kejriwal
said after a strategy meeting of Anna Hazare`s core team.

He said it is believed that the cost to the exchequer to
implement the objectives of the food security bill would cost
around Rs one lakh crore and by late Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi`s estimates, only 15 per cent of the money reaches the
public.

"So only Rs 15,000 crore reaches public while Rs 85,000
crore is lost to corruption. That means food security bill
does not give protection to public unless Lokpal is passed.
That is why we demand that Lokpal Bill be passed before Food
Security Bill," he said.

Activist Kiran Bedi also echoed Kejriwal`s sentiments
saying, "over Rs one lakh crore for Food Security Bill without
ensuring its financial integrity? Should a strong Lokpal not
precede it?"

Kejriwal also spoke about the need for bringing the
anti-corruption wing of CBI under Lokpal, asking why was the
government so afraid of letting the control over the central investigating agency go.

"If CBI is out of government`s control, what is so
problematic? This creates a suspicion that something is very
wrong," he said.

Bedi alleged that the government`s unwillingness to part
with CBI was to protect its past.

"People are demanding to make CBI effective and not
divide and share it. Original government draft was to keep
original CBI with them. May be to to keep past protected? And
create another one with borrowed resources?" she said.

"What is Lokpal without CBI? Where was need for Lokpal
then? What did Govt mean by Strong lokpal? What did Anna fast
and people agitate for?" she said.

A Team Anna member said its working group met to discuss
the situation against the backdrop of the moves by the
Government to bring forward a Lokpal Bill.

PTI